Chapter 3: Emptiness and the Monk’s Nose
The same, in a different sense, is happening in life. Thoughts are projected by your mind so fast that you cannot see the gap between two thoughts. The screen is completely covered by the thoughts and they move so fast that you cannot see that each thought is separate. That’s what Tilopa says: Thoughts are like clouds, without any roots, with no home. And a thought is not related to another thought; a thought is an individual unit, just like dust particles, separate. But they move so fast you cannot see the gap between. You feel they have a unity, a certain association.
That association is a false notion, but because of that association, ego is created.
Buddha says: Fast-moving thoughts create an illusion, as if there is some center to them, as if they are related to one thing. They are not related, they are without roots - like clouds. When you meditate you will understand that each single thought is an individual thought, not related to another. Between the two is the emptiness of your being. They come and go, but they come and go so fast that you cannot see the intervals. Ego is created.
And then you start feeling that there is somebody as a center in you to which everything belongs - thoughts, actions. But Buddha says that there is nobody inside you. When you go deeper you will understand the truth of it: it is not a philosophical doctrine.
Buddha can be defeated very easily by argument; he was thrown out of this country because Indians are great arguers. They have done nothing else for five thousand years but argue, and through argument Buddha can be defeated because the whole thing seems to be absurd. Buddha is saying that there are actions, there is no actor; there are thoughts, there is no thinker; there is hunger, there is satiety; there is illness, there is health; but there is no center to which they all belong. They are just like clouds moving in an empty sky, not related to each other at all. Through experience nobody can defeat Buddha, but through logic it is very simple.
Soon Buddha became aware that through logic he could be defeated very easily. So what to do? India had great scholars in those days, great pundits, great logicians, hair-splitters. So Buddha simply declared: I am not a metaphysician, I am not a philosopher, and I have no doctrine to offer. These are not conclusions of my intellect. If somebody wants to understand them, he will have to come and live with me, and do whatsoever I say. And after a year, if he lives with me silently in meditation, then I am ready to argue with him, never before.
And it happened that although many great scholars came to him, this was his condition. Sariputta came. He was a very famous scholar, and he had five hundred of his own disciples. They were great scholars in their own right: they knew all the Vedas, they knew all the Upanishads, they knew all the wisdom of the centuries, and they had very, very keen intellects. Sariputta came and Buddha said: You have come, that’s good. But for one year you have to remain silent, because I have no doctrine to propose, so there is no possibility of any argument. I have something in my being to share, but no doctrine to propose. So, if you like, you can be here.